The last word in a week overflowing with them belonged to Dolphins running back Reggie Bush. Not only was he unapologetic for anything he said about the Jets trying to injure him in their first meeting, but after Miami exacted revenge in a thorough 30-9 thrashing Sunday at MetLife Stadium, Bush called them quitters.
Asked how satisfying it felt to dominate the Jets in all phases, Bush said: "It's very satisfying. It's as good as it gets. We knew we wanted to jump on them early, and I think we were able to accomplish that. I think once we got them early, they kind of laid down a little bit."
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Bush carried only 14 times for 59 yards, but to the victors go the bragging rights. Besides, he brought things to a boil on the fourth play of the game when he broke a 19-yard run on which he delivered a hard stiff-arm that decked Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie.
On Friday, Cromartie called Bush "unprofessional" and said he "didn't show good sportsmanship" when he said the season-ending knee injury suffered by Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis in the first game was karma.
After the stiff-arm, Cromartie jumped to his feet and head-butted Bush, drawing a 15-yard penalty that put the ball at the Jets' 33-yard line.
Check that. Cromartie corrected the order of events.
"I didn't head-butt him," he said. "I pushed him first before I head-butted him."
Asked if he lost his composure, Cromartie said: "No, I didn't lose my composure. I just called him a punk. That's exactly what he is."
Naturally, Bush had a different interpretation. "I felt like that run set the tone for the game," he said. "I think it just fired us up. Obviously, they got the penalty that gave us an extra 15 yards, and we got a field goal out of the drive. It was a key play early on."
Miami coach Joe Philbin asked his players to focus on their jobs "and not turn it into a personal affair because it's not a personal affair." But no matter how cool the Dolphins tried to play it, there simply was no getting around the emotional pitch that exists between the AFC East rivals.
"The atmosphere was serious when we came out for warm-ups and nobody was in the stands," Dolphins defensive back Jimmy Wilson said. "You could just feel it in the air it was going to be one of them games, tough game with a lot of shoving and pushing."
Bush and most of the Dolphins were satisfied that there were no cheap shots this time around. But Jets wide receiver Chaz Schilens was on the other side of that fine line. "They're not a very clean team," he said. "They're a little cheap as far as I'm concerned."
To be continued next season.